First look at Elephant Talk

Elephant Talk now has its own page on the Lerner website, and this lovely jacket design is up! Trumpeting with joy here.

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Appreciate an Elephant Today

Today marked the end of Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival in India venerating the Hindu diety Ganesh–he’s the one pictured in art and statues with an elephant’s head, and he’s widely revered as a bringer of good luck.

Today is also Appreciate an Elephant Day, and it’s fitting, because schoolkids throughout India are working to make the Ganesh festival there a little greener.

The huge paint-and-plaster-of-Paris idols that are paraded through the streets are left to dissolve in the local bodies of water, polluting river, lake, and sea. Ecology-minded kids are speaking up and taking action to make the festival better for the environment, and so better for people, elephants, and other living things.

Auntie on duty

On September 10, keepers at the Melbourne Zoo welcomed a new baby elephant to their herd. Their Asian elephant Kulab gave birth to a healthy male calf. Mother and calf are doing well, and to judge from the video, the keepers couldn’t be happier. Don’t they look delirious?

It’s a boy! from Zoos Victoria on Vimeo.

Visitors flocking to the elephant exhibit at the Melborne zoo won’t just see Kulab and her new baby, they’ll see “auntie” Num-Oi. Elephants often share calf-rearing duties, and young elephants learn a lot from their aunties and grown-up sisters…what scientists call “allomothers.” Calves will often run to their auntie to for a suckle when mom isn’t available (the allomother doesn’t provide any nourishment, just comfort).

You can read more about allomothering when my new book, Elephant Talk, comes out next spring. In the meantime, you can keep up with Kulab’s calf here.